Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sapphire Blue

by Kerstin Gier
(translated by Anthea Bell)
Read: November 24-25, 2012
Published: October 30, 2012 by Henry Holt and Co.
Source: Library Book
Category: YA Fantasy, Time Travel
Series: Edelstein Trilogie book 2 (Ruby Red was book 1)

NOTE: Although this is a second book in a series, I don't really give anything away in this review, so it's safe to read if you want to get a sense of what these books are about. Though I would recommend skipping the Goodreads book description. 

Gwen’s life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood (gross!), she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean.

At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, offers advice on everything. Oh, yes. And of course there is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out. (From Goodreads)

A setup on the Ruby Red series 
Gwendolyn Shepherd is just a normal teenage girl who goes to school in London and likes celebrities and movies more than historical facts or schoolwork. Gwen is thankful that it is her cousin Charlotte (and not Gwen) who carries the family's time travel gene, and has to spend time learning to dance, fence, walk and talk so that she'll be able to blend into various time periods. Except that Gwen is the one who actually starts time traveling. All of a sudden everyone realizes they've made a mistake, and Gwen is thrust into a world and a secret time travel society that she knows nothing about. 

On Sapphire Blue
When I started Sapphire Blue, I worried that I would have trouble getting back into the series, or that I would think that it was to silly. But after a few chapters, I  also remembered that these books are a lot of fun and that there's something incredibly endearing about them. Or at least about Gwen the narrator. These books are fast paced and quick reads, plus I laughed out loud a lot. One of my favorite aspects of these books is how seriously these characters take their time traveling. From their costumes and hair to how they smile and curtsey, it is quite complicated to travel back in time and blend into the society. Gwen is just as out of her element as she was in the first book, which continues to cause both tension and humor. 

I was surprised at how much I like the main character Gwen. She is silly and flighty at times, but she's also sharp and quite effectively uses to her advantage the fact that people constantly underestimate her. Gwen is hilarious, and I really enjoyed being inside her head. 

Words of wisdom from Gwen
If you were lying, you had to come up with confusing details that wouldn't interest anyone. 
If no one could be bothered to explain any of these rules to me, or the reasons for them, they couldn't really be surprised if I didn't keep them.
There are a lot of characters in this book and even a list of them in the back (though I was never confused). I'm not going to talk about all of them, except to say that Sapphire Blue has only a few new characters. One of the new faces is the gargoyle Xemerius. At first I thought he was strange distraction to the plot, but he definitely grew on me, and I'm thankful that he was added. I'm interested to see the role he plays in the final book. I also continue to adore Gwen's best friend Lesley, whom is equally as funny and sharp. I love the friendship between them, and how much Lesley embraces and helps Gwen with her new found ability. 

As for Gideon, he was very confusing and frustrating in this installment. He's seriously all over the place, and it's hard to figure out his motives or feelings. I don't want to make a pronouncement, because we don't know the whole story yet, but I am holding out hope for good things to come from him. (Don't let me down, Gideon!) I hope the ending of this book is a wake-up for everyone. 

The first book in the series Ruby Red, took place in about 2 days time, and Sapphire Blue covers more than double that time - maybe 5 days or so. But even so, I felt like Gwen had more perspective, and she didn't read quite as young to me as she had in the first book. As the series moves along, I've started to see how some elements that seemed rushed at first, actually make sense in the plot (or at least they don't bother me as much). 

Though the series is split into 3 books, it's written as an overarching story arc with some high points along the way. That essentially means this series was written as if it could be one larger book split into 3 sections. I like that you can see the intricate details of how the book was crafted throughout each story  - a series with a lot of time travel has to be well put together. However, Sapphire Blue still doesn't give us a lot of answers. Although much can be inferred, I have a lot of questions (and many theories too). 

It is going to be very difficult to wait an entire year to get my hands on Emerald Green (anyone want to read and translate it into English for me???). I'm ready for Gwen to show everyone that they made a big mistake in underestimating her. I'm also looking forward to seeing how all the pieces of the story fit together, especially when there are scenes we've witnessed from other time periods that haven't yet happened in the present time (if that's confusing, you need to read the book to see what I mean). I think this is a series that I'm going to want to sit down and re-read straight through so that I don't miss anything.

*Make sure to check out the short preview for Emerald Green at the end of the book. It made me very excited for what is to come, especially the last sentence.*

On the translation
There are a few awkward words and phrases in this book that seem to be a result of the translation (though they could also be the British English). Am I the only one who didn't know what blancmange was, let alone use it in regular conversation? And I thought there was an over abundance of exclamation points at the ends of sentences, which bugged me a little! But besides that, I was very impressed with the translation.

Ruby Red is going to be a movie in German called RubinrotI hope it comes out with English subtitles, because I want to watch it. I like that the mood of it seems more serious and darker than the first book came across in print. 

Cliffhanger Scale: Medium. At the end of book 2, the characters are not in immediate mortal danger, but A LOT is uncertain. 

Love Triangle Factor: Despite everything, I'm sticking with Mild, though this book is leaning towards Its Complicated.

Rating: 4 stars 


  1. I'm so glad you've enjoyed this one so much, Lauren! Although the complicated-esque love triangle is a little off-putting, overall, I'm very curious about this series. I definitely want to give it a shot! :)

    1. Oh dear, it's hard for me to clear this up without giving anything away. Honestly, I think in the end it's going to be a mild. It's just that this is a middle book and everyone's intentions are not clear yet. But the book is written in a way that has shown us certain events from the future, which make me pretty confident that that aspect of the story isn't really an issue.

      But if you're worried, this might be one to wait and read when the series is complete.

    2. Oh do read it Keertana! It's such a fun series and the characters are so incredibly likeable! You won't be disappointed! :)

  2. I'm excited to read this after reading your review. I liked Ruby Red, I thought the story was very cool and I loved the way it approached time travel. But sometimes the writing felt stilted to me. I wondered how much might be because it was translated from German. Did you ever feel that way?

    But I LOVED Lesley (what an awesome BF) and Gideon. Well, I kinda wanted to punch him the majority of the time. Interested to see how his character develops in this second installment.

    Great review, can't wait for my library to get a copy:)

    1. I definitely felt the same as you about the language. There were some awkward words and phrases, and I think it was due to the translation. But they didn't really hinder my reading of this book. I agree with really liking this time travel concept and how she's developed it throughout the story. Lesley remains one of my favorite characters, I really enjoy the frenetic energy that she and Gwen create together. But Lesley is a great support and source of reason for Gwen. need to read this book so we can discuss him further! I hope your library gets a copy soon.

  3. I'm so interested in this series because I absolutely love books about time travel and I'm OF COURSE so very drawn to these covers. They are beautiful!

    I am also admittedly unable to jive with the British-English easily. I *always* have a hard time reading these books. Every time. So I decided early on that I wouldn't even attempt them until the series was completed - I KNOW that no matter how much I like the first book, I will not even go back to the rest of the books if I don't have them ready and available to me. If I have to wait for them AND they're difficult for me, I won't pick them back up. So I'll just wait a little longer and satisfy my curiosity then. But I definitely want to check them out. So glad you are liking them, Lauren!

    1. I can definitely see this being an Asheley series! But I totally understand wanting to wait until their complete, especially with the way that these are written.

      However, I know I talked above about the translation. But these books are still VERY readable. There are a few words and phrases that more make you think "I wouldn't say that phrase in that way," but they're not hard to understand. Just remember that in Britain a torch = a flashlight and you'll be fine. Seriously, I don't think these will give you any trouble.

      I hope we can discuss them after the series is complete!! They're lots of fun.

    2. I know I had some they're their confusion above. oops!

  4. I have been very curious about these -- thanks for the review.

    I think I remember blancmange from Little Women. Some kind of pudding?? I think they made it when someone was sick.

    And you know, Heather @ Flyleaf Review just visited my blog and said she wanted to punch a character. A different character. We need to keep an eye on her, just saying...

    1. It IS pudding. I definitely didn't remember that, but I looked it up. It's just that in the US we'd say 'pudding' instead of 'blancmange.'

      HAHA! Yes we should keep an eye on Heather, lest she get violent on these poor YA boys ;)

  5. I just got started with this series, and really enjoyed Ruby Red. I'm forcing myself to finish a couple currently-reading books so that I can start Sapphire Blue.

    I agree that Gwen is a fun narrator. I totally love that she's so out of her element. I think it is good for the others to see that maybe they don't have to take themselves quite so seriously.

    1. I hope you like this one as much as Ruby Red. This series is so much fun, and I like what you said about Gwen. She's resourceful, but she doesn't instantly excel at all the details she needs for time traveling. It makes her more interesting as a heroine.

  6. I have this on my computer desk as we speak! I was talking to someone over Twitter about it and I realized I need to finish the series. I have the same worries you had about getting back into it, but your review sparked my excitement. Can't wait, so thank you!

    1. YES! I was pleasantly surprised with how quickly I got back into Gwen's head. She is such a fantastic heroine - funny but also so very normal. I hope you love this one as much as I did.


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